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    2017 Ethernet Roadmap for Networked Storage

    November 2nd, 2016

    When SNIA’s Ethernet Storage Forum (ESF) last looked at the Ethernet Roadmap for Networked Storage in 2015, we anticipated a world of rapid change. The list of advances in 2016 is nothing short of amazing

    • New adapters, switches, and cables have been launched supporting 25, 50, and 100Gb Ethernet speeds including support from major server vendors and storage startups
    • Multiple vendors have added or updated support for RDMA over Ethernet
    • The growth of NVMe storage devices and release of the NVMe over Fabrics standard are driving demand for both faster speeds and lower latency in networking
    • The growth of cloud, virtualization, hyper-converged infrastructure, object storage, and containers are all increasing the popularity of Ethernet as a storage fabric

    The world of Ethernet in 2017 promises more of the same. Now we revisit the topic with a look ahead at what’s in store for Ethernet in 2017.  Join us on December 1, 2016 for our live webcast, “2017 Ethernet Roadmap to Networked Storage.”

    With all the incredible advances and learning vectors, SNIA ESF has assembled a great team of experts to help you keep up. Here are some of the things to keep track of in the upcoming year:

    • Learn what is driving the adoption of faster Ethernet speeds and new Ethernet storage models
    • Understand the different copper and optical cabling choices available at different speeds and distances
    • Debate how other connectivity options will compete against Ethernet for the new cloud and software-defined storage networks
    • And finally look ahead with us at what Ethernet is planning for new connectivity options and faster speeds such as 200 and 400 Gigabit Ethernet

    The momentum is strong with Ethernet, and we’re here to help you stay informed of the lightning-fast changes. Come join us to look at the future of Ethernet for storage and join this SNIA ESF webcast on December 1st. Register here.


    How is 10GBASE-T Being Adopted and Deployed?

    January 8th, 2013

    For nearly a decade, the primary deployment of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) has been using network interface cards (NICs) supporting enhanced Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP+) transceivers. The predominant transceivers for 10GbE are Direct Attach (DA) copper, short range optical (10GBASE-SR), and long-range optical (10GBASE-LR). The Direct Attach copper option is the least expensive of the three. However, its adoption has been hampered by two key limitations:

    - DA’s range is limited to 7m, and

    - because of the SFP+ connector, it is not backward-compatible with existing 1GbE infrastructure using RJ-45 connectors and twisted-pair cabling.

    10GBASE-T addresses both of these limitations.

    10GBASE-T delivers 10GbE over Category 6, 6A, or 7 cabling terminated with RJ-45 jacks. It is backward-compatible with 1GbE and even 100 Megabit Ethernet. Cat 6A and 7 cables will support up to 100m. The advantages for deployment in an existing data center are obvious. Most existing data centers have already installed twisted pair cabling at Cat 6 rating or better. 10GBASE-T can be added incrementally to these data centers, either in new servers or via NIC upgrades “without forklifts.” New 10GBASE-T ports will operate with all the existing Ethernet infrastructure in place. As switches get upgraded to 10GBASE-T at whatever pace, the only impact will be dramatically improved network bandwidth.

    Market adoption of 10GBASE-T accelerated sharply with the first single-chip 10GBASE-T controllers to hit production. This integration become possible because of Moore’s Law advances in semiconductor technology, which also enabled the rise of dense commercial switches supporting 10GBASE-T. Integrating PHY and MAC on a single piece of silicon significantly reduced power consumption. This lower power consumption made fan-less 10GBASE-T NICs possible for the first time. Also, switches supporting 10GBASE-T are now available from Cisco, Dell, Arista, Extreme Networks, and others with more to come. You can see the early market impact single-chip 10GBASE-T had by mid-year 2012 in this analysis of shipments in numbers of server ports from Crehan Research:


    Server-class Adapter & LOM 10GBASE-T Shipments

    Note, Crehan believes that by 2015, over 40% of all 10GbE adapters and controllers sold that year will be 10GBASE-T.

    Early concerns about the reliability and robustness of 10GBASE-T technology have all been addressed in the most recent silicon designs. 10GBASE-T meets all the bit-error rate (BER) requirements of all the Ethernet and storage over Ethernet specifications. As I addressed in an earlier SNIA-ESF blog, the storage networking market is a particularly conservative one. But there appear to be no technical reasons why 10GBASE-T cannot support NFS, iSCSI, and even FCoE. Today, Cisco is in production with a switch, the Nexus 5596T, and a fabric extender, the 2232TM-E that support “FCoE-ready” 10GBASE-T. It’s coming – with all the cost of deployment benefits of 10GBASE-T.

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